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Angioplasty - Symptoms & Causes

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What Are The Risks of an Angioplasty Procedure?

An angioplasty is generally a safe procedure but, like any medical intervention, it does carry some risks and potential complications. Risks associated with angioplasty include:

  • Bleeding or hematoma:

Bleeding can occur at the catheter insertion site in the groin, wrist, or arm. In some cases, a hematoma (a collection of blood outside a blood vessel) may form, causing swelling and discomfort.

  • Blood vessel damage:

There's a small risk of injury to the blood vessel where the catheter is inserted, which could cause damage or a tear in the artery or vein.

  • Allergic reaction:

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the procedure. This reaction can range from mild itching or rash to more severe complications, such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction).

  • Blood clots:

Angioplasty can cause injury to the blood vessel walls, leading to the formation of blood clots. In some cases, these clots might partially or completely block blood flow through the vessel, causing complications.

  • Restenosis:

In some individuals, the treated artery may narrow again over time (restenosis) due to scarring or tissue growth at the site of the angioplasty. This might require additional procedures or treatments.

  • Coronary artery dissection:

Rarely, the artery may tear or develop a flap-like opening, known as dissection, during the angioplasty procedure. This can impair blood flow and may require further treatment.

  • Heart Attack or stroke:

Although rare, there is a small risk of heart attack or stroke during or after the procedure, particularly in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or significant blockages.

  • Infection:

There's a slight risk of infection at the catheter insertion site, although this risk is minimal with proper sterile techniques.

  • Kidney damage:

The contrast dye used in angioplasty can potentially cause kidney problems, especially in individuals with pre-existing kidney issues.

Your consultant will discuss all these risks with you before undergoing angioplasty. The likelihood of experiencing complications varies depending on individual health factors, the specific condition being treated, and the complexity of the procedure. In many cases, the benefits of improving blood flow and reducing symptoms outweigh the potential risks associated with angioplasty. Your healthcare team will take steps to minimise these risks and closely monitor you during and after the procedure to ensure your safety.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms related to compromised blood flow or have been diagnosed with arterial blockages, explore the comprehensive vascular services available at our London clinic. Speak to one of our consultant vascular surgeons and start your treatment without the wait.


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